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Re: Advantages of written communication are:

*One of the biggest advantages of written communication is the fact that it allows for permanent records, which is something other means of communication such as oral communication do not have.
*Written communication strengthens and clarifies a verbal message.
*Because it allows for permanent records, it is good for making references.
*Written communication can be very useful as a defense during legal issues.
*Written communication is more reliable than oral communication. A written and signed document carries more weight and validity than spoken words.
*Written communication is more precise than other means of communication.
*Written communication, because of its form can be stored for analysis to be made in order for one to get a better understanding of the message it contains.
*The last but not least advantage of written communication is the fact that it can be easily disseminated to recipients that are in different locations.

Written Communication

Next to oral communication, written communication is the oldest known form of communication. Any form of communication which is written and documented from the sender to the receiver is known as written communication. Examples of written communication include letters, memos, research papers, reports, etc.

It is a very concrete form of documentary evidence and can also be used for future reference purposes. As the information is written, it can be easily distributed to many people thus making it a bulk communication method. As the information does not change from person to person, the accuracy of the information conveyed is same across the entire audience.

To ensure an effective written communication form, it is a must to follow completeness, clarity and correctness in your writing. As there is no immediate feedback that can be received, it is important that written communication is detailed and accurate to ensure that the write message is communicated.

Also remember to keep the communication simple and without any errors. Written communication also has its limitations like lack of feedback, absence of modulations to convey message effectively, etc. These can be overcome effectively by mixing oral communication with written so as to combine the advantages of both along with eliminating the disadvantages.

Evaluative Written Feedback

This type of feedback is the most common. Evaluative feedback often involves judgment of the writer and his or her ethos (or credibility). We look for credibility clues when we examine the letterhead; feel the stationery; or read the message and note the professional language, correct grammar, and lack of spelling errors. Conversely, if the writer’s credibility is undermined by errors, is perceived to be inappropriately informal, or presents questionable claims, the reader’s view of the writer will be negative. The reader is less likely to read or respond to the message communicated by a source judged to lack credibility.

In an interpersonal context, evaluative feedback may be communicated as a lack of eye contact, a frequent glance at a cell phone, or an overt act to avoid communication, such as walking away from the speaker. In written communication, we don’t have the opportunity to watch the reader “walk away.” As a business writer, your ethos is an important part of the message.

In aspects of interpersonal interaction, behavioral evaluations are one type of evaluative feedback. A behavioral evaluation assesses the action and not the actor, but the business writer lacks this context. You don’t always know when or where your content will be read and evaluated, so it is in your best interest to be consistently professional. Fact checking, elimination of errors, and a professional image should be habits, not efforts of will. They should be an automatic part of the writing process for any business writer.

Judgement of written communication

Checklist

Look at a piece of writing you have had to do (i.e. an essay, report or job application) and check it against the following points.

Structure (the way the content is laid out)
• Is the layout clear and easy to follow?
• Do headings stand out (e.g. are they in a larger font size)?
• Is the information arranged in a logical sequence with a beginning (introduction), middle, and end (conclusion)?
• Does the introduction clearly state the subject and purpose?
• Does it briefly summarise the content?

Style (the way it is written)
• Does it look neat, and elegant?
• Is it concise, with an exact use of words and economy of style?
“If in doubt, cut it out!”. Learn to be laconic!
For example instead of saying forward planning, just say planning – there is no such thing as backward planning! Words such as very, just, quite, perhaps, maybe and really should all be removed
• Is is simple, direct and lucid? (See table on right)
For example a bureaucrat would write:
Political organisation administered directly via the populace, intended for the employment of the general community, on behalf of each and every one of the citizens of the nation.
Abraham Lincoln wrote:
Government of the people, by the people, for the people.
See “Flush the buzzwords” for more about this
• Are paragraphs too long?
Paragraphs of less than 10 lines are easier to read.
• Is a blank line left between paragraphs to aid clarity?
• Are sentences too long? A sentence should contain just one idea.
• Sentences with more than 30 words should normally be split.
• Is the first sentence interesting/ Does it draw the reader in?
• Have you avoided unnecessary jargon?
• Is the style suitable for the intended audience?
A scientific report aimed at an audience of non-scientists would have to be written in simpler and more jargon free language.
• Are bulleted lists used where appropriate?
• Have you used short, concrete, familiar words rather than long, obscure, complex words?
• Use the active words where possible rather than the passive voice? “It is recommended ….” should be replaced by “We recommend” as this is simpler and more direct
• Have you kept wordy phrases to a minimum?
• Have you avoided repetition?
• The Plain English Campaign recommends
sans serif fonts (e.g. Arial, Verdana) such as this, as clearer and easier to read than serif fonts (e.g. Times New Roman, Garamond) such as this.

Content (what you are writing about)
• Have you carefully checked the spelling and punctuation?
• Have you thought through in advance what you want to say?
• Have you a clear objective?
• Have you listed the essential points you wish to make?
• Have you made these points clearly?
• Have you developed your argument in a logical way?
• Have you allowed detail to obscure the main issues?
• Is the content positive and constructive?
• Have you shown an interest in the reader by writing with warmth, sensitivity and friendliness?
• Have you edited it through several revisions, honing the text until it is just right?
• Have you left it overnight if possible: your mind will assimilate it better and you will come back with a fresh view.

The writing rules of George Orwell
• Never use a long word where a short one will do.
• If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.
• Never use the passive voice (e.g. “Bones are liked by dogs”) where you can use the active voice (“Dogs like bones”).
• Never use jargon if you can think of an everyday equivalent.

Written communication skills

Written communication has several advantages. First, it provides a record for referral and follow‐up. Second, written communication is an inexpensive means of providing identical messages to a large number of people.

The major limitation of written communication is that the sender does not know how or if the communication is received unless a reply is required.

Unfortunately, writing skills are often difficult to develop, and many individuals have problems writing simple, clear, and direct documents. And believe it or not, poorly written documents cost money.

How much does bad writing cost a company annually? According to a Canadian consulting and training firm, one employee who writes just one poorly worded memo per week over the course of a year can cost a company $4,258.60.

Managers must be able to write clearly. The ability to prepare letters, memos, sales reports, and other written documents may spell the difference between success and failure. The following are some guidelines for effective written communication:

      -Use the P.O.W.E.R. Plan for preparing each message: plan, organize, write, edit, and revise

 

      -Draft the message with the readers in mind

 

      -Give the message a concise title and use subheadings where appropriate

 

      -Use simple words and short, clear, sentences and paragraphs

 

      -Back up opinions with facts

 

      -Avoid “flowery” language, euphemisms, and trite expressions

 

    -Summarize main points at the end and let the reader know what he must do next

Re: How to Improve Written Communication.

Types Of Correspondence
Effective written communication affects all aspects of your fitness career, including “your ability to successfully connect with your staff, educate your clients about important fitness concepts and make a positive first impression on prospective customers,” according to Amanda Vogel, MA, writer and owner of Active Voice, a writing, editing and consulting service for fitness professionals, based in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Honing excellent writing skills doesn’t apply only to the marketing materials you commonly think of, such as articles, newsletters, brochures, fliers and website copy. Effective written communication also applies to more routine, business-related correspondence, including the documents described below.

Welcome Letters to New Clients and Participants. The sale of a fitness program doesn’t stop when your clients register for your program or class. A welcome letter that thanks them for their business and summarizes how your exercise program will help meet their fitness goals shows that you’re a professional and their decision to work with you was a smart one.

Requests for Medical Clearance. When you have clients or class participants with health issues that require medical approval, there are insurance and legal policies that require you to obtain that approval in writing. While it’s common practice to use the one-size-fits-all medical clearance form, a more effective approach would be to include, along with the form, a well-written cover letter that explains who you are, your credentials and how you plan to approach your client’s (their patient’s) exercise program.

Internal Organizational Memos. Whether you own a studio or work for a fitness facility, you may have to write correspondence to your subordinates, superiors or co-workers. The purpose could be as simple as introducing new fitness staff or as complex as giving the details about a major change in your company’s pricing structure.

Instructions. Instructional correspondence helps the reader complete a task. You may need to write exercise instructions for your clients, equipment operation instructions for club members, procedures on how to complete a transaction for staff, or posters with instructions about what steps to take in an emergency.

Incident Reports. Unfortunately, the nature of the fitness business exposes you to the possibility of experiencing a health- or safety-related episode with clients, class participants or staff. For an Incident Report as for a Request for Medical Clearance, you most likely will use a standard form; however, most forms require a written statement, either within the form or attached to it, describing the details of what occurred and when, who was involved and where it happened.

Effective Written Communication

Of course, you might have the opportunity to write other types of correspondence as a fitness professional. So how do you make sure you clearly communicate your purpose regardless of the document? No matter which type of writing you do, “get your general ideas on paper or the computer screen—this is your first draft,” says Vogel. “Now go back and edit.”

When editing, consider the following factors:

Key 1: Use a Professional Tone. Your readers will form an opinion of you from the content, the style and, most important, the attitude and tone that come across in your writing. Create a professional, positive tone by using simple, direct language. Adopt a “you-attitude” versus an “I-attitude,” to show that you’re sincere in your focus on the reader rather than on yourself as the writer.

If you need to convey unwelcome information, craft it with special care. When denying a request or sharing bad news, acknowledge the problem or situation and diplomatically explain the background and your position. If responding to a request, make your “no” response clear so there’s no misunderstanding. If you can, suggest an alternative and build goodwill as much as possible by offering to answer any questions the reader may have.

Key 2: Know Your Audience. The intended readers of your correspondence can vary from medical doctors, lawyers and other fitness professionals to clients of all occupations and ages, including children. You must consider their backgrounds, technical expertise and educational levels as well as their mindsets and possible reactions to your writing. This process is no easy task, but the more time you take to identify your audience, the more effective your message will be.

Key 3: Organize Your Information Clearly. Arrange your thoughts so that your correspondence can be read quickly and comprehended easily. Organize the information based on your purpose. For example, when writing instructions, organize your information in sequential, or step-by-step, order. For incident reports, write in chronological order, explaining how the events unfolded. When sharing news and information, use the “6Ws”—who, what, when, where, why and how—to guide you.

Key 4: Use the Right Format. Format refers to how your correspondence is laid out on paper or online. Usually writers choose their formats based on the method of delivery—letter, memo or e-mail. Each type has distinct format conventions (guidelines) for including and placing elements such as the date, addressee, subject line, salutation, message body, closing line, signature block and company letterhead or logo. (See “Correspondence Format Conventions” on page 114 for examples.)

Key 5: Use Visual Elements Carefully. Visual elements—such as font size and type; underlined, italicized or bold text; and bulleted or numbered lists—help emphasize key points and make your correspondence more effective. With all the options available, be careful not to go overboard, especially with fonts. Choose font types based on your document’s purpose, audience and formality. Vogel says to avoid using all caps, which can impede readability and give the wrong impression. “Your goal is to make writing as easy to read as possible,” she says.